We refer to the letter by Mr Tan Hee Jan, ‘Cut ERP rate for taxis’ (The Straits Times, 17 Jul 2013), in which Mr Tan suggested that the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) rate for taxis be cut to encourage more taxis to enter the Central Business District (CBD).
The objective of ERP is to manage congestion so traffic remains smooth-flowing. Taxis are subject to ERP because, like all other vehicles, they occupy road space and contribute to congestion.
To encourage taxis to enter the CBD, taxi companies have implemented a city area surcharge that is payable on trips originating from within the CBD from Monday to Sunday and public holidays between 5pm and midnight. With respect to kerbside pickups, we have relaxed the CBD taxi rule to make it easier for taxi drivers to pick-up and drop-off passengers along all roads within the CBD, except those with bus lanes during bus lane operation hours and specific roads which are dangerous for all vehicles to stop at any time.
Mr Tan also queried on the taxi availability standards, the aim of which is to increase taxi fleet utilisation. These standards are imposed on the taxi companies set based on a proportion of the taxi fleet, not by driver and were derived after extensive consultation with the industry.
A balanced and graduated approach has been taken to achieve improvements for commuters while ensuring that the taxi industry is able to transit to the new standards.
Currently, about 80% of the total taxi fleet are able to achieve more than 250km a day. On average, if a single shift taxi driver drives about 8 hours a day, he needs to cover only about 30km every hour. Drivers can consider engaging relief drivers if they feel they are unable to meet these requirements on their own. They can use the newly launched online matching portal at www.onemotoring.com.sg/taxi_matching/ to look for relief drivers and hirers and vice-versa.
Helen Lim (Ms)
Director, Media Relations
Land Transport Authority